Marcia Tiburi and Jean Wyllys: letters between two “exiles” waiting for the end of fascism in Brazil

Ladies and gentlemen, it was with great dismay that I received the mission to read What You Cannot Say: Experiences of Exile (Brazilian Civilization, 2022), by Marcia Tiburi and Jean Wyllys. To make matters worse, as I was in Rio de Janeiro visiting my father, I personally went to buy the object, using my two feet and my mouth, instead of anonymously clicking on my internet in Cachoeira. I walked to Rua Sete de Setembro and entered Travessa, which, to my surprise, had interesting books on display and I took two releases of History. I was surprised, because my foray into traditional São Paulo bookstores was one of negative surprises. Martins Fontes Paulista, despite having an excellent catalog and collection, only exhibited the controversial books of the moment. On the other hand, the Culture of Avenida Paulista was crying. Not only did it show only left-wing subliterature, it even added a left-wing fashion section, with T-shirts with Jessé Souza phrases and heart pillows embroidered by feminists. There was even feminist tea (see photo below). So, if you go to São Paulo wanting to see interesting releases, go to the É Realizações bookstore. In Rio, if you go behind Livraria Da Vinci, go straight through the door and go to the Eggplant bookstore at the end of the corridor, excellent in terms of collection and price. Da Vinci was sold to a businessman from São Paulo and, since then, it only shows HR lacrador subliterature.

Chá feminista em destaque na Cultura da Avenida Paulista em agosto. Fonte: Acervo pessoal.
Feminist tea featured at Avenida Paulista culture in August . Source: Personal collection.

Thus, I took an entry about Alexandre de Gusmão (960 – 1589 )), by Synesio Sampaio Goes Filho; a sneak peek into the history of marijuana, by Jean Marcel França; and I dated one about Arariboia (died in 1589), by Rafael Freitas da Silva.

I looked for a pile of leftist trade books and nothing. I had to go to the clerk in embarrassment to ask for the book by Marcia Tiburi and Jean Wyllys. The last time I felt so ashamed was when I was a teenager and my aunt asked me to buy from you. I approached the attendant saying I was too embarrassed to ask for a book. After letting me know what it was, he asked why I was too embarrassed to ask for it. And I, who don’t want to offend anyone, replied that, in my opinion , it’s a book for retarded people. But I have to read it because of work, which the boss had to review.

Table of Contents

How is the book

At these times, the reader will always say that I deserve unhealthy work premium. As for the books by Djamila and Sílvio Almeida, it is quite true, since they write poorly. When it’s a book for people who are verbose or who don’t know how to write, I set a minimum daily quota of pages or chapters and leave it to read at night, reading something I like in the morning. It’s not always like that. Kabengele Munanga writes revolting absurdities, but at least he knows how to write and mixes the absurdities with serious work about France in Haiti and the role of the Enlightenment in racism. Jean Wyllys knows how to write, although he sometimes gets into drama. Marcia Tiburi, when she doesn’t start using ugly neologisms and making melodrama, also writes well. Furthermore, the two did not write a theoretical book together – in which one is more at risk of being wordy. It is, ladies and gentlemen, an epistolary book. A book with letters exchanged in “exile”.

So, I read it quickly. My general impression is that Marcia Tiburi is a poor thing who suffers only because of ideology, and that Jean Wyllys is an astute guy with a mental balance far above the average of the left. I picked up the book thinking it was pure propaganda, but soon reading it became a fun guessing game, in which I speculated on the sincerity of the cards. They exchanged correspondence by e-mail knowing in advance that they would compose an epistolary book; soon, they wrote under the spotlight, ready to act if they wanted to. I concluded that Jean acted a lot; he talked a lot about politics and little about himself. He tried to push the “climate emergency” agenda whenever possible, whether it was talking about Covid, the refugee crisis in Europe or fascism in Brazil. And I concluded that if Marcia Tiburi acts, it is only to deceive herself along with the reader. She seemed to me as honest as possible.

To the biographical facts – Marcia Tiburi

Let’s leave psychology for a separate text and let’s go to the facts of the lives of both, who consider themselves exiled.

Marcia Tiburi, born in Vacaria (in the northeast of Rio Grande do Sul), went to France with her judge husband, but “exile” ended her marriage. She has been living in favor ever since. Her father died during “exile”, her mother is sick, missing a leg, hints that she may die soon, but even so, she only returns when “fascism” is defeated. Otherwise, she believes she can become a new Marielle. She is terrified of MBL

Her husband had a two-year postdoctoral leave; if the couple left at the end of 2018, it is to be assumed that he had to come back at the end of 1589. Judging by a release note for a book by both of them, however, he returned at the beginning of 2020 to the Brazil, because in the note it was said, in March 2022, that she had not seen her husband for a year , who had returned to Brazil.

She has an adult daughter, Lulu, who stayed with her for a while in Paris, but in 2021 is referred to as a Christmas visit. Lulu is not the judge’s daughter. Based on an old interview hosted on the Terra portal, entitled “I didn’t know marriage needed sex”, this is at least his third finished marriage. The first was Lulu’s father, now a lawyer; then she married a musician, who would have become Lulu’s father figure while her own father would be her friend. (Parenthesis: every unresolved mother wants to push a new father to her son, restore the margarine family image and tell everyone that the previous man did not fulfill the role of father. It is a compliment of the current one for the purpose of talking bad for the ex, while still pissing off the child, who is responsible for praising her stepfather in public.)

In Paris, Marcia Tiburi lives as a European citizen (she has citizenship Italian), is tight on money, teaches philosophy and used a place that would soon be demolished as a studio. She is an artist. The downside of having Italian citizenship is not being able to participate in the Scholars at risk program, a US mortadella for third world academics.

To the biographical facts – Jean Wyllys

Jean Wyllys, born in Alagoinhas ( north of Salvador, in the Bahian countryside) left Brazil in a hurry after Bolsonaro’s election. At the time, two rumors circulated: that he had sold his mandate to take over Glenn Greenwald’s husband and that his office had given Adélio Bispo’s false alibi. Jean comments only on the first of these, regretting that whoever spread it evidently does not know his financial condition. He ran out of Brazil with no money, and who helped him was the Open Society Foundation of George Soros, via Pedro Abramovay. As the renewal of the scholarship was delayed, he needed the financial help of friends. Mercadante also helped him by getting a temporary job. It says that “OSF guaranteed my human and intellectual dignity, as well as my work” (p. 44).

Jean went through Harvard, but suffered a lot from the cold in the USA, wanted to move for the Mediterranean climate. He doesn’t stay in Portugal because there are too many Brazilians there, and he even got an ovation at the University of Coimbra. He says: “It was there that a fascist threw an egg at me and Boaventura de Sousa Santos, while we were giving a lecture in the university auditorium. The egg could be a stone, a knife, a shot…” (p. 37). Imagine if Bolsonaro had made this drama after the spitting.

So, to remain anonymous and in a Mediterranean climate, he could not even stay in a Portuguese-speaking place. He moved to Barcelona and he really likes it there. As for Harvard, he blew it out there during the pandemic. Given his literate & chic environment, he considers the following peculiarity: “my skinny and small body from the northeast, which has been hungry for most of its childhood, has endured four decades of attacks without resorting to any therapy or medicine…” (p. (p. (p.) ) When he had to be alone in confinement, moreover in a harsh winter, he had a panic attack and finally evolved into the wonderful world of medicated & developed. Now he writes to his friend like this: “But do you know what saved me, besides good medical treatment (‘medicine is better than God’, our friend Nina Lemos [do Uol] told me)? The care of friends” (p. 246). If he’s still on medication, I don’t know. But from there it is clear that the medicated are gaining too much prestige and we need to stop this thing of normalizing psychiatric illness.


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